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Do you need assistance?
Dial 3-1-1 (within SF only)
or 415-701-2311
415-701-2323 TTY
24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Provide feedback to SF311

Twitter FAQ

Return to 'Follow SF311' Page

Frequently Asked Questions:





1)  What is Twitter? (Back to Top)

  • Twitter is a popular and free social messaging utility that allows you to send messages (up to 140 characters) via SMS, IM, the website, and third-party applications. People use Twitter for fun, but also to share important information. You can now use Twitter to request services or information from the San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center.

Need a Twitter account? Sign up at: http://twitter.com/signup

2)  Is my information private? (Back to Top)

  • Twitter is designed to be an open network, but you can keep your information private if you wish by using Direct Messages.
  • Since this is a City service, the contents of your request will be used within the City as necessary to resolve your request. It may also may be subject to disclosure in accordance with the California Public Records Act. If we do have to report publicly, your name, address, and other personal information such as twitter ID and Username will be removed from a service request before we do so.

3)  How do I send a message and make it private or public? (Back to Top)

  • Add "d sf311" before the message to make it a direct (private) message or send as @sf311 to make it a public message.
  • In order to communicate on Twitter using direct messages, both users must be following each other.

4)  How do I signup so that my Tweets will be private? (Back to Top)

  • Follow us at twitter.com/sf311 and Tweet "@SF311 Follow Back Request". SF311 reply will confirm set-up
    • Able to send direct messages (private) right away
    • Creates customer record for tracking your requests

5)  Can I really send a message to SF311 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and get a live person to respond? (Back to Top)

  • Yes, you can contact us or access services by calling 3-1-1, visiting our website (www.sfgov.org/311), or sending us a direct message on Twitter. The SF311 Customer Service Center is open 24x7x365. (The amout of time it takes for SF311 to receive the tweet will vary based on the response of the Twitter network.)

6)  What types of problems and issues can I report through Twitter? (Back to Top)

  • Most services offered by phone and online, with a few exceptions such as complaints and certain permits, are also available via Twitter. If in doubt, just send a message!

7)  Can I attach photos or links to my Twitter messages? (Back to Top)

  • Yes! Many 3rd party Twitter clients have built-in features of link shortening and picture attachment. These features are really helpful because it helps us identify the exact location that is being reported.

8)  Do I have to have a "smart phone" to send messages to 311? (Back to Top)

  • No, you can use any "SMS" capable phone and send a text message to "40404" as long as your phone is associated with your Twitter account.
  • When logged into Twitter, go to "Settings" -> "Devices" and add your cell phone number there.
  • The same message convention applies to text messaging (d sf311) for private and (@sf311) for public.

9)  Are there any tricks to sending messages to 311? (Back to Top)

  • Not really.
    • Be as specific as possible as to the information you're requesting or the problem and location you would like to report so we can answer your question or submit your request with your first tweet. Take a look at the examples in #10.

We will respond to your requests using the same method that you select (public or private.) Please report any potentially sensitive or confidential issues using the direct message method only.

10) What are examples of helpful Twitter messages (Complete details in under 140 characters!) (Back to Top)

  • Street Cleaning (private msg):d sf311 Queen mattress and two bags of trash on sidewalk at 1355 Market.
  • Graffiti Removal (public msg): @sf311 Offensive graffiti on the west side of the building at 1455 Market.
  • Pothole and Sidewalk Defects (public msg): @sf311 I saw a huge pothole on Van Ness (between O'Farrell and Geary). I was heading northbound and was driving in the middle lane.
  • Abandoned Vehicles (private msg): d sf311 car parked IFO my neighbor at 550 Van Ness for 2 months. maybe aband. Lic. Plate 123abc, black taurus
  • City Garbage Can Maintenance (private msg):d sf311 The garbage can at the NW corner of Market and 7th is overflowing onto the sidewalk.
  • Department Information (private msg): d sf311 Where is the Human Resources Dept for the City and County San Francisco?
  • Park Maintenance (public msg): @sf311 I was just at Dolores Park and I noticed that the park benches on the north side were broken.
  • Streetlight Repair (public msg): @sf311 The metal streetlight in front of 25 Van Ness Ave has not been coming on for the past couple days.

11) Will 311 send tweets about events in the City? (Back to Top)

  • Yes, we will send updates about planned City events as well as significant unplanned events.

12) How do I remove myself from receiving Tweets about events from 311?   (Back to Top)

  • If you wish to stop receiving Tweets about important city events, you must unfollow SF311. Please keep in mind that if you do choose to unfollow, you will be limited to sending only @SF311 messages which are public and viewable by everyone on Twitter.
  • If privacy is a concern but you do not want to follow SF311, please give us a call. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Last updated: 5/29/2014 11:27:12 AM